We called ourselves, “Il Volo’s Fabulous Five…”
We landed in Rome on May 10th. The Rome Concert was our first, on May 12. It was better than any I had seen in the states. Il Volo is more comfortable on stage in Italy and the audience responds with singing along, as well as clapping. When we went to the meet and greet they were happy to see us. We had badges on with Il Volo’s fabulous five, our name, and the state we come from. We wanted them to know who we were and not forget us. We told them we were going to several of their concerts in Italy and they were happy to hear that.
We left Rome on Saturday 5/13 with two cars to Montepagano in Abruzzo. That is the little village where Gianluca lives. We spent the night at a B&B and the woman who ran it spoke no English, and us five together speak about 10 words of Italian. She was delightful and through hand gestures and Google Translate on our phones we got along just fine. The next day we went to the tiny church where Gianluca and his family attend. He was not there of course because they were on tour. We walked the streets of the little village and the people in the square treated us like super stars. They came out of the woodwork to greet us. It was just an amazing day. And the beauty of the tiny village was more than we could have even expected. It sits on top of the mountain looking down at the City of Roseto and the Adriatic Sea. The next day we went to Roseto and stayed three days in a beautiful hotel on the beach. It was just amazing. During that time, we went to our second concert in Ancona. Again, they were terrific. We met up with friends and it made our days there so very special. We also went to Marco Cardelli’s Dad’s Pizzeria, Don Franchino’s which was fabulous. Joanie, Suzana and their friend joined us and it was a great time had by all. Please forgive me for forgetting your beautiful friend’s name Suzana. I just met so many people and sometimes the names just do not stay with this old mind.
We left Roseto and went on to Assisi to the beautiful Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, well almost. We did go to one Cathedral which was beautiful, but was not able to go to the Basilica where Il Volo sang on Christmas a few years ago. There was no parking and we just had to move on down the road. The beauty and history were great. From there, to Bologna, which was a short overnight stay, and then on to Verona.
OMG! Verona was just a magical place. I could go on for hours talking about all that happened there. We spent three days in Verona and went to two concerts in the Arena. The Arena was a sell-out crowd which was loud and fun, they made the boys come alive and they were even better than in Rome or Ancona. They just get better with each concert. At the meet and greet Gianluca shouted “here come the Americans” and then all three sang our National Anthem. We sang along with them and so did the Italians. It was so special that we had tears in our eyes. We watched a Soccer game in the square with about three thousand people. Wow, when their team won the crowd went crazy and in a good way. They sang, and they marched up and down the square. It was just amazing to watch. Then in the middle of all this happening we ran into Gianluca and his family. He was quick to give hugs and kisses and so did his mother. So much going on in Verona that I just cannot put it all in. We met so many friends, there was even an antique Race Car exhibit going on the first day we were there.
From Verona, we flew to London for three days and attended the concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This is like Radio City Music Hall in NYC. You know you have arrived when you play the Royal Albert Hall. They again were happy to see us and gave us lots of hugs and kisses and thanked us for coming to London to support them. Gianluca gave me a hug and cheek kisses and thanked me for having the fan convention in Las Vegas which was last year, I was so surprised when he thanked me. It truly was very special that he remembered me from the Fan Faire. We toured London on the big double decker bus and toured the entire city. Another beautiful concert and Il Volo shined at the Royal Albert Hall.
From London, we flew to Palermo, with a short lay over in Rome. There we had a driver for the rest of our tour of Italy. He picked us up at the airport and we spent part of the day in Palermo and saw the sights and ate at an outdoor restaurant on the beach. Just beautiful. He surprised me. I had told him my father was born in Villabate just a few miles from Palermo center. He took us to Villabate and I was able to walk the streets and saw where my dad grew up before coming to America. In the square, there was a plaque with my father’s Great Grandfather and his Grandfather’s name. Wow that made me cry. We went by the meat market that is owned by the Giglio’s and they are my cousins. They would be the grandchildren and great grandchildren of my Grandfather’s brother Tommaso, who stayed in Villabate. I did not go in and introduce myself because I was with the other ladies and I knew if my cousins knew I was a Giglio from the States, they would want to spend time with them. We had a schedule to keep.
It was then on to Marsala, where we spent two day in a beautiful B&B right on the Square of the city. Oh, so beautiful. This is the home town of Ignazio. We went to the beach which was just beautiful. Met up with some friends we know from Facebook which was delightful. Two days did not seem enough time to enjoy the sights. We did a lot and then it was time to leave and on to our next destination.
Naro was the next stop – home town of Piero. Tiny little town with narrow streets. Amazing how our driver would drive without a care in the world as we kept our hands over our eyes. We went to the top of the hill and there was the Castle where Piero has his Museum. We spent a lot of time there and the two young ladies that showed us around were just so cute. They spoke no English but our driver did all the translating for us. They then wanted us to go back to town and meet their dad. They took us to a little restaurant and the dad treated us like we were long lost relatives. We had a great time, food and drinks. We had a B&B in a vineyard there in Naro. OMG, was it beautiful. It was probably the most beautiful B&B we had stayed in. It was hundreds of years old and the view was amazing. High on the hill overlooking the town of Naro. We had only stayed there overnight, but wished we had planned one more day at least.
Next was Siracusa. We stayed in a beautiful hotel there and it had a Romeo and Juliet balcony overlooking the square. It was just wonderful to be able to hear the music and sound of the city from our balcony. We spent a lot of time taking pictures and enjoying a restaurant by the sea. We were outside and we planned to only order drinks. They brought the drinks along with enough food to feed an army. We never did bother to go to dinner because what they brought us for happy hour was a full meal. I was sorry to leave Siracusa so soon, again I could have spent a few more days enjoying the different areas around the city.
Next on our grand adventure was a flight to Malta. What I beautiful island it is. Our first day was pretty much taken up with the flight there, getting our hotel room, dinner and taking in the view of the area. We met up with Madeline and her friend Tanya on our second day there and they showed us the beautiful areas of Malta and a lot of history. It was a beautiful day. On the third day we took a boat cruise that was very enjoyable along with a bus tour. The bus tour was not quite what we expected and we were tired after that long tour on the bus and was ready to relax. Madeline came back that evening and we had a wonderful visit . She is delightful and we enjoyed spending time with her and her friend. It was a whirlwind adventure but a fun filled three days. Back to the airport and on to Taormina.
We are now leaving for Taormina, the true gem of our entire trip. Again, the narrow streets, but our driver had no problems with them. We were dropped off at our B&B which was in the center of all the action. Our apartment was just a few steps from the Bambar and the restaurant where the Il Volo group family, friends, and management team hangs out. We met up with Piero at the Bambar, and he chatted with us for quite a while before leaving for his apartment. We later ate dinner at the same restaurant as the Il Volo group and after dinner they put on a mini concert. Singing and laughing and just having so much fun entertaining everyone there. It’s hard to believe that they are superstars and yet the next night here they are at the Greek Theater and you know that they are superstars and powerhouse entertainers. We went to three concerts and each one better than the last. They were energized by the crowd and gave their best performances because of it. Taormina was my favorite place in all of Italy. So beautiful and five days was not enough. I could stay there for a week and just enjoy all the beauty Taormina has to offer. But I will again make sure there is an Il Volo concert in Taormina after all they make the vacation worthwhile.
Our grand adventure came to an end, but all five of us have left our hearts in Italy. It is, after all, Il Volo-land. It was wonderful going to see their towns in which they live. It brought us closer to them in our hearts. It was great to meet so many of our Facebook friends throughout our travels and most of all it was so exciting to see Il Volo in concert in the grand halls and arenas, and the smiles on their faces when they recognized us. It truly was, “THE GRAND ADVENTURE for IL VOLO’S FABULOUS FIVE!”